I Called In Sick to Watch ‘Hope Floats’ and ‘Practical Magic’ on Netflix

More Sandy on Netflix, guys!

For the first time in a long time, September first wasn’t overly hot in Los Angeles. I hate August; it’s hot and miserable in my apartment, and when I get to September, I know there is some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. Even though in California, there are plenty of forest fires and heat waves ahead, still, there’s some kind of magic I feel that I made it through a summer. I even get a little excited that there are some holidays ahead and maybe even some chilly nights.

And this September something truly amazing happened to me: Hope Floats and Practical Magic hit Netflix on the same day.

I’m not even a big Sandy Bullock fan; don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen a lot of her movies and even enjoy Miss Congeniality when it’s on TV. I most certainly liked Speed, but because of the bus and Keanu. I hated The Blind Side. I’m not at all interested in her (seemingly boring and sometimes tragic) personal life either. Most of her movies are meh. But sometimes meh is real good. 

But I love Practical Magic. And I love Hope Floats. For no real reason except that something about those small towns (which I can’t even relate to) and the outfits, and the witchcraft, and oh man all the love, just really makes me a big fucking useless puddle of emotion. I’m sure my therapist could explain the dark connections I have to these movies, but for the sake of my emotional health, I’m okay just saying simply: I love these two movies, they are now both on Netflix, and you can’t fuck with me.

So I decided to watch them, both, in the same day. It was, by far, the most emotionally challenging thing I’ve done so far.

First, I decided to go with my least favorite of the two: Hope Floats. That’s sort of an unfair way to put it because each movie has seriously burned a hole in my heart. Still, I thought I’d go down this Hope Floats road first.

Plot according to Wikipedia

Birdee (Bullock) is an unassuming housewife whose life is disrupted when her husband (Michael Pare) reveals his infidelity to her on a Ricki Lake-style talk show. She goes home to her mother (Rowlands) and the small town in which she grew up, where everyone knows of her televised marital collapse. Meanwhile, an old friend, Justin (Connick, Jr.), has entered her life, sparking a romance. While Justin's intentions are clear and good, Birdee struggles with the decision to let him fully into her life.

Now, this all sounds terrible, I get it. And worse, she’s now an aspiring photographer and that’s a whole separate issue in the film. And overall, the film is bad, but I’m fucking sobbing. Especially the deadbeat dad stuff, the letting love in stuff, the fucking part where Harry Connick Jr. sweeps Sandy off her feet (literally) and carries her away to future bliss. I scream inside, Let love rule! I’m shouting (out loud) Open you heart!

When the movie ends, I’ve got tissues scattered around the living room, and I consider that I won’t get through Practical Magic. It will be my end.

I decide to turn off the TV, take a short walk to the mailbox so my eyes can actually adjust to sunlight, and then eat. I make the only thing in the house: Trader Joe’s shells and cheese, and I only have half n half and butter—no low-fat milk like it requires. So I end up with a grossly rich bowl of mac and cheese, and hit the couch again.

You know that great feeling after you’ve had some kind of emotional release? Like after a good movie or a good book? It sort of lingers like a high. I’m feeling it from Hope Floats, and I wonder if I have anything left in me to do it all over again with Practical Magic.

I take a 30-minute eating break and watch an episode of House Hunters, one I’ve already seen but still I watch it. In the back of my mind, I think of Sandy Bullock’s tiny waist and all the calories I’m chowing down now. I block that out and focus on this single mother buying a home on Cyprus on the TV instead.

But when I finally get to Practical Magic on Netflix, I don’t hesitate. I see Nicky Kidman and Sandy Bullock’s faces right in front of me, in high contrast, all those candles, and I’m so excited. I get comfy and dive in.

Plot according to Wikipedia

Bullock and Kidman play sisters Sally and Gillian Owens, who have always known they were different from each other. Raised by their aunts after their parents' death, the sisters grew up in a household that was anything but typical—their aunts fed them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them the uses of practical magic. But the invocation of the Owens' sorcery also carries a price—some call it a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed to an untimely death. Now adult women with very different personalities, the quiet Sally and the fiery Gillian must use all of their powers to fight the family curse and a swarm of supernatural forces that could take away all the Owens' lives.

Yep, also sounds really bad. But already during the opening credits I think I should light some candles, but I don’t have any. Where is my witch hat?!

And then, I’m crying again, at this terrible plot of friendship/sisterhood/motherhood. I just want Sandy to be happy! And I just want Nicky to stop dating that horribly scary abusive man! And God, why can’t they just break this fucking curse! What if this curse happens to me? What if my husband dies? What if my own mother is a witch? It’s just a spiral from here, until I finally work my way to the ending I know so well—there is true love!

I gather the tissues and throw them away and I clean my macaroni bowl.

I’m left alone, with the Internet, the radio, and/or the TV. I choose to Google small New England towns and price out homes there. I think of buying another witch hat. I think I’m wiped out and exhausted from letting my heart bleed for 4.5 hours of Sandy-movie watching. 

The rest of the day I’m walking on a cloud. The most perfect unpaid holiday of my life. My heart is full.

And just so you know, While You Were Sleeping, the other very fucking best Sandy movie is on Netflix too. I’m surprised they haven’t blocked me from that one yet. I guess I am a Sandy fan after all. Ugh.

Maybe next time I'll get bombed and watch all three.